Extended Battery Buying Guide

Aside from portability, is there any feature more important in a notebook than battery power? For many users, a notebook purchase is dependent on the machine’s ability to run for the desired amount of time on battery power. Some people know they won’t have access to an outlet while on the go while others would simply rather not deal with the hassle of cords and plugs even while in their own home or office.

Everyone uses a notebook differently. The right battery can make an otherwise lackluster notebook into a great traveling companion and can change the way you use your notebook. We recently used an HP dv4t notebook with the 12-cell extended battery, which made all the difference (you’ll see how on the following pages).

If you’ve been thinking about getting an extended battery for your notebook or have wished many times that your notebook had more juice in it after it went dead, this article will give you a better idea of the options available and what you should take into consideration when choosing an extended battery.

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  • w4ffles
    There aren't any options in the bios so is there software to undervolt my notebook's CPU?
  • hellwig
    They rate Amp-hours per cell. I.e. 2.2amp hours is only for one cell of a multi-cell battery? Confusing.

    w4ffles: I use RMClock myself (there should be a free version online). It lets you set profiles so you can specify the maximum speed and voltage of your CPU (and various other levels depending on CPu usage). I use it to underclock and undervolt my desktop when not in use, but to crank the CPU up to max when doing heavy loads (which the application detects automatically and adjusts on the fly).

    It can take a learning curve to use, but even the free version is very powerful.
  • quantumrand
    Just something to point out, DDR3 is a power saving component in notebooks right now since it runs at a lower Voltage than DDR2. The difference isn't particularly significant, but DDR3 will give you maybe 5-10% more runtime.

    Most people think of DDR3 as a perfomance increase, but with the limited frequencies of current soDIMMs, DDR3 for laptops is only on par with current DDR2 notebook RAM, if that.
  • Anonymous
    My Compaq V5000 is still going strong after 5 years. I chose to go with Sempron and the matte screen (I planned to work outside and the glossy was brighter by default). Also got the 12 cell. I play Starcraft, Diablo 2 so the ati 200M worked perfectly, and then work related stuff (lasts about 6 hours watching downloaded media).

    Great article, these were the things I considered when choosing components for my laptop, as I never knew when I would be close to an outlet.
  • Anonymous
    andetghddn -
    P.S. The v5000 laptop also cost about $450 direct from hp.
  • lgpfortoms
    hellwigThey rate Amp-hours per cell. I.e. 2.2amp hours is only for one cell of a multi-cell battery? Confusing.w4ffles: I use RMClock myself (there should be a free version online). It lets you set profiles so you can specify the maximum speed and voltage of your CPU (and various other levels depending on CPu usage). I use it to underclock and undervolt my desktop when not in use, but to crank the CPU up to max when doing heavy loads (which the application detects automatically and adjusts on the fly).It can take a learning curve to use, but even the free version is very powerful.

    RMClock is the defacto software in use on notebooks at the moment, and what I would recommend. While I don't want to get into a full-blown guide here, it is also important to stress the CPU while testing your voltages before you really play with RMClock. It does take some learning, but anyone with the skills can do it.
  • Luscious
    Cool - now I can get a 30% off coupon at HP. Nice article!
  • Platypus
    I always enjoy having a laptop battery that doesn't start a fire.
  • work2day
    I have a busniess notebook for work and aside from the programs I use everyday, don't know that much about computers. The biggest thing for me with buying an extended battery was the price. HP wanted a boat load for it, which is really a rip off. I checked different site for about 2 1/2 days and ended up getting one from NoteBatt.com for like half or something close to it. Couple of other sites were the same way. It's just nuts to think that other companies are selling pretty much the same battery for much less. Oh, and it has been completely bug free since I got it, something HP told me would not happen.
  • Anonymous
    Even with 30% off coupon I think HP batteries are very expensive. I also was scared about fire when I started looking for a new battery for my HP and I found a very high quality batteries at www.newpcbattery.com. I chose that site because battery manufacturer located in USA, not in China.